Update May 14: This poll has been closed. Stay tuned for results!
Should Ireland raise its legal drinking age? It's a question that has come to the forefront after a spat of anti-social youth behavior as well as the Irish government's new plan to set minimum unit pricing on alcohol.
Speaking on Newstalk Radio’s Lunchtime Live this week, Joan Hopkins, the Social Democrats Fingal Co Co Councillor for Howth-Malahide, pointed to a "radical" yet "successful" model that has been adopted in Iceland.
Hopkins said: "Iceland were seeing what we're seeing now... they had the highest levels of youth drug and alcohol abuse.
"They've gone from the highest of 42% down to the lowest of 5%.
"The programme is radical but it's evidence-based and it relies a lot on enforced common sense.
"If we don't do something about this, then we're going to be talking about it next year and the year after.
"They changed the laws: they brought in a new age limit for alcohol - you have to be 20 to buy alcohol in Iceland, they introduced curfews.”
(The current legal drinking age in the Republic of Ireland is 18 years old.)
When asked if she believes the Iceland model is the “solution” to anti-social behavior in Ireland, Hopkins said: “Yeah, I think it’s part of it.
"It’s a kind of holistic approach, like introducing curfews - you don’t have 13 and 16-year-olds out and about late at night unsupervised.”
Separately, the Irish government announced on May 5 its plans to introduce minimum unit pricing on alcohol.
Minister for Health, Stephen Donnelly TD, said: “Ireland had the third-highest level of adolescent binge drinking in the world according to data from a global study published in The Lancet in March 2019, while 2018 saw an 80% increase in the number of children under-16 admitted to Irish hospitals because of alcohol intoxication. 36 children in 2018 compared to 20 such cases in 2017.
“Addressing the availability of cheap strong alcohol products will reduce the disease and death caused by the harmful use of alcohol and will ensure that cheap strong alcohol is not available to children and young people at 'pocket money' prices."
Hopkins, however, went on to explain that the legal drinking age and curfews are only a small part of the problem in Ireland and that she is more focused on seeing investment in youth programs.
“One of the really important things they [Iceland] did was they gave parents €500 annually to spend on afterschool activities - arts, music, sports, whatever.
“All the research shows there’s a correlation between getting kids involved in healthy diversion rather than just hanging around. They need to spend time with their families, they need organized activities and this stuff works - we really need to fund it.”
With youth alcohol consumption a hot topic at the moment in Ireland, we want to know - do you think Ireland should raise its legal drinking age?